Exciting Happenings at HerStoryCalls

Hello everyone,

In the next few weeks you are going to see some exciting changes and events here at HerStoryCalls.

Starting Sunday is our first annual cancer fundraising event.   Join us and other authors as we share our stories and raise money for cancer.  We are also welcoming cancer survivors and caretakers to share their stories. All funds will go to the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.   We will also have a page on the website dedicated to survivors and In Loving Memory of – Feel free to comment and add a note or memory to the board.

If you are an author, a survivor, a caretaker, or anyone who would like to blog with us during this cancer month.  Please email me directly at michelle@michelle-fryer.com and we can set up a day to spot light you.   Authors – if you’d like to blog I’ll post your name and links to your book under our HerStoryCalls supporter pages.

Coming very soon, we are going to have a completely new web design.  You should see some changes this weekend and over the next few months.




Blog for a Cause

HSC Square Relay for Life

Hello HerStoryCalls.com followers,

Starting in just a few weeks, we are going to have a month long focus and fundraiser for American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.   Cancer is a disease that touches all of us in some capacity or other throughout our lives.  Whether you are a survivor, currently struggling, a friend or family member of someone who lost the battle or supporting someone you love, Cancer affects us all.

Currently we are seeking guest bloggers from May 25 – June 25.  We are looking for people to share their stories of love, hope, and courage in the face of cancer.  This is open to anyone who would like to take a day on our blog to share your story.

If you are an author/writer, we are happy to promote you and your books when you guest blog with us but we ask during this month that your post be about cancer and how it has been involved in your life.   Our goal is to bring awareness to this issue and create a community connected by cancer.

At the beginning and end of each blog post we will post a link to our Relay for Life donation page so that we may raise money to support the American Cancer society.  Help us raise money for an important cause.

If you are interested, please email me at michelle@michelle-fryer.com

If you would like to donate please visit this page:  http://main.acsevents.org/goto/HerStoryCalls

Thank you for your time and support.


Didn’t I Just Hear That?

This past weekend I popped in a comfort audiobook, a medieval Scottish romance by an author I usually devour.   It is the first in a series and one of the characters was similar to one I have been writing.  I put in my earplugs and as expected, I became entranced in the story.  Only an hour or two into the book I started to lose interest and it wasn’t because the story sucked, it was because the author kept repeating herself.

For example, the heroine suffered a fall from her horse, nearly died, and it changed her life.  After the initial retelling – I as the reader already knew this fact.  However, the same exact retelling of the story only shortened slightly had to be told to the hero, and then his brothers, and then his clan.  I heard this tragic snippet three or four times.   Ahhhh!   Seriously?

Later in the book, the hero is injured and we as readers live through the ordeal with him and the heroine.  Only he loses consciousness and the heroine must get help.  She rushes back to the village and tells the story of what happened.  They rescue the hero and when they return to the keep, they tell the doctor the whole story.  Again – I’ve heard this three times.

In an 10 hour book this happened so much I had to fight to not scream at the author or be passive aggressive and put a bad review out on Goodreads.   I did finish the book, same day, and I loved the story and the characters, but ultimately this repetition annoyed the shit out of me.   It weakened the book and damaged the author’s credibility for me. While there needs to be a little bit of repetition in a book whole chunks of the story really should not be repeated.

As usual, I internalized this information and looked to my own writing to see if this is a mistake, I’ve made in the past.   *Blush*  I have done it once or twice but never to this extent.   I find once I’ve told a part of the story I typically brush it off or I introduce the situation back in later but in a different way.  I change the reaction people have and it strengthens not only characters but adds imagery to a scene. Repetition in a story feels more like moving the chess pieces around the board and not making a play.  In my work – I’ve made the play and I might go in for a repeat attack but I make it short, simple, and completely different from the first story.

Here is an example from my work.  Stuart was a gay pirate who married Effie to keep his love life a secret from the crew.  In turn, she gets to have a family and life she is sorely lacking.   When he is killed, Effie is whisked off to his family clan in Scotland to be taken care of as per his wishes.  Stuart’s former lover is charged with relaying news of the death.   The prologue is told from Effie’s point of view as she tries to save Stuart, so the reader has already lived through his death.  This excerpt is how his ex-lover relays news of the death to his brother.  As you will see – there is a little detail but not an entire retelling – blow by blow – of the death.

“What are you doing here?”  Rory bellowed as he charged into the darkened solar.  The door banged against the stone wall with such force he heard it splinter.

Cal Taggert turned from where he stood by the fireplace with a grim frown.  His face was thinner then Rory had remembered, and aged.  The lines around his eyes were not there before, but then again he’d usually seen them laughing and not serious as they were now. The familiar mop of reddish brown curls pulled tight against his scalp and tied at the base of his neck with a leather throng. 

“Rory.”  He didn’t offer his hand, only a small inclination of his head to show respect to the Laird of the McDonough’s.

“What are you doing here?” 

A wince passed over Cal’s cheeks.  “Stuart is dead.”

                The blood in Rory’s veins turned as cold as the night air outside.  A swath of pain and grief snaked through him. “How?”  His voice softened but his posture remained hard and overbearing.

                “Battle.  We were attacked.  By the time I got to him, he was fighting six men.  He was injured.” Cal swallowed hard and ducked his head, the subject obviously painful for him.  “The medics did their best but it wasn’t enough.”  The distance that separated them couldn’t hide his shaking hands.

Pulling off his wet leather gloves Rory stormed over to his desk, leaving behind him a trail of muddy boot prints and chunks of snow.  He’d only just returned from a three day hunt to find a man he’d hoped to never see again, waiting for him.

                He poured three fat fingers of whiskey into a cup, swallowed it and refilled.  Rory rolled his lower lip over his teeth as he contemplated what to do next. Stuart was his younger brother and the loss of his life was devastating.  They’d been estranged for nearly five years and even that distance didn’t soften the blow of his death. 

“Your message is received.” Rory motioned with his the back of his hand towards the door.  “Get out.”

So how about you – Have you read anything with gobs and gobs of repeated information?  How do you deal with repetition in your work?



Being Human

Being Human

Recently I ran across the SyFy series Being Human, and after the first episode, I realized three very important things.  First, Adorable actors!  Second, I was addicted to the show like a bus driver to coffee.   Third, the power and seduction of a cliffhanger to keep people watching – or in literary terms hooked.

This is a US version of a UK series.   Aiden is a 250 (give or take) year old vampire that’s living the vegan lifestyle – meaning not drinking from the source.  He’s tall, dark, handsome, dangerous and oh so yummy for a living dead guy.   Josh is a tortured werewolf with low self-esteem and a deep commitment to morality.   He’s “doe eyed”, geeky, but sincerely sweet.   Sally is a ghost.  She’s is the bubbly, comic relief, and a perfect counterpart to both Aiden and Josh.   These three unlikely friends all live in the same house, deal with their individual supernatural dilemmas, and ultimately become a close nit and unconventional family.  The overall theme of the show is finding normalcy in their everyday life, only to face a mountain of roadblocks along the way. 

From the very first episode action, drama, and comedy blend together perfectly.  You get a good introduction to the characters and you are invested in them before you get to the cliffhanger at the end of the first episode.  *Spoiler Alert* At the end of the first episode, Josh has found a safe place to change into a werewolf where he won’t hurt anyone. Only Josh’s estranged sister follows him in hopes of confronting him.  As they talk, Josh begins his rather painful transition and tries to push his sister out of the room because he doesn’t want to hurt or kill her.  She on the other hand shuts the door and locks them inside together with no way to get out and no one to rescue them.

And….then the episode ends.  Yes – it ends!!!  You have no idea how they are going to survive.  You are emotionally invested in both characters and their relationship and you need to know the resolution.  I needed to know the sister lives and Josh doesn’t kill her. When the screen went black and the credits rolled, I fumbled for the remote as if it was a piece of chocolate.  I needed to see what happened next.  

This – I realized is magic.  It’s the addiction that makes us watch an entire series without going to bed.  More important – this is what makes readers turn the page and stay awake all night long.  Yes, my friends, I’m talking about the hook.   It’s what every first time writer needs to understand in order to write the best seller.  It what every reader needs to become invested in the book. 

The first chapter needs introduce and build memorable characters that connect with the reader.  It needs to have a wham bam moment that starts a physical reaction.  It is my goal as a writer to make sure the reader doesn’t close or put down the book.  I don’t want them doing the dishes, changing the baby’s diaper, or sipping a cocktail – I want them reading and turning pages.  

This first episode of Being Human (and all of the episodes thereafter) gave me that reaction.  I didn’t want to stop.  I even paid to watch episodes because I couldn’t handle not knowing what happened next. 

In my writing life, I’ve been struggling to find the right starting point for my novel.  I’ve written six beginnings and none of them feel right. I can’t move on to the next chapter until I know where I want to start.   However, after watching all three seasons of this show I can honestly say I will be making it much more dramatic and include a damn good hook to make the reader keep going.

Okay – you’re turn. What do you think about cliffhangers?  Have you seen Being Human?   Have you ever found yourself addicted after one episode? Addicted after the first chapter?  Share your stories.